News | Sept. 8, 2020

DLA Aviation supervisor at Corpus Christi keeps team together, maintains warfighter support during pandemic

By Leon Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs

As the senior Defense Logistics Agency Aviation representative at Corpus Christi Army Depot in Texas, Melissa Lopez said she has embedded herself with Army aviation leadership there to understand their issues and concerns. 

"I have to make sure my team is in sync with the customer to provide the support that is needed, whether it is a realignment, parts expedite, forecasting or any other supply chain function to be able to resolve or foresee supply chain issues that may arise," she said. 

Lopez leads a 13-member team as customer relations specialist supervisor with DLA Aviation Richmond’s Army Customer Operations Division at Corpus Christi. While most DLA employees were forced to telework due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lopez and her team provided on-site material support for over 1,200 Army aviation repair programs. 

"I made sure my team had what they needed to continue working on-site and talked to them about the safety precautions we needed to implement to continue to be on-site. We worked through it all and still continued to be that face to the customer whether in meetings or [for] one-on-one questions," she said. 

Lopez’ work earned her DLA Aviation’s Leadership Award, which recognizes leaders who exhibit four leadership traits: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. She said she was surprised to be nominated. 

"It was a total surprise. I am just thankful that I was recognized by my peers and leaders in my division. It means a lot and tells me that my efforts do not go unnoticed," Lopez said. 

She was nominated by Ronald Mailhiot, deputy of DLA Aviation’s Army Customer Operations Division at Corpus Christi, for managing a safe and healthy environment while motivating her team to improve aviation readiness at CCAD. The industrial product vendor team she developed achieved a greater than 99% fill rate for the 10,839 items it manages and eliminated 27 of 44 non-mission capable back orders. The team also improved demand planning accuracy by 3%.

"My team is small but provides optimum customer support to, in my opinion, the most prestigious rotary wing depot in the world. Their collaboration together, not only internally but with the CCAD team and the Corpus Christi DLA Distribution team, helps us in meeting our goals and initiatives to improve back-order reduction and forecasting," she said.  

As the number of coronavirus cases at the depot increased at the end of June and in July, Lopez protected her team by switching members to 100% telework. 

"Melissa cares for her team and understands what motivates each individual employee. Her work ethic, collaborative nature and eagerness to solve problems make her an invaluable member of the DLA Aviation team," Mailhiot said. 

"I do what I do for the men and women who are out there fighting and protecting our freedom and those veterans who came before them," Lopez added. 

Showing appreciation towards military veterans has a special meaning for Lopez, whose uncle, Marine Corp Lance Cpl. Raul Flores, was killed in action during the Vietnam War at 19 years old. 

"He is my motivation to be the best leader I can be. I just wish I had the chance to meet him," Lopez said.